A highly advanced industrialized nation, Norway invested 1.6% of its GNP on basic scientific research and technological development in 1987–97. In 1998, high-tech exports were valued at $1.9 billion and accounted for 16% of manufactured exports. Public funds account for about 60% of research expenditures, either as direct grants from the central government or as proceeds from the State Football Pool, whose net receipts are divided between research and sports. In 1987–97, 1,842 technicians and 3,664 scientists and engineers were engaged in research and development.
The four principal research councils are the Agricultural Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities, the Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and the Norwegian Fisheries Research Council, each attached to separate government ministries. The councils recruit researchers by means of fellowship programs and allocate research grants to universities. They are part of the Science Policy Council of Norway, an advisory board to the government on all research matters. Principal areas of current study are arctic research, specifically studies of the northern lights; oceanography, especially ocean currents; marine biology, with special attention to fish migration; and meteorology.
The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, founded in 1760, has a Natural Sciences section. The country has 12 other scientific and technical learned societies and 24 scientific and technical research institutes. Located in Oslo are the Botanical Garden and Museum (founded in 1814), the Norwegian Museum of Science and Industry (founded in 1914), and other museums devoted to mineralogy-geology, paleontology, and zoology. The country has six universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied sciences. In 1987–97, science and engineering students accounted for 26% of university enrollment.